Have you ever considered that you might be addicted to spending money? If you have, and you landed here on this page…I'm willing to bet your spending habits aren't (as Mary Poppins says) ship-shape. While “addiction” is a strong, intense word, especially when it comes to describing a pattern of behavior like the way you spend your money, people can still be dependent on spending money whether it's to cover up a feeling, to comfort, or to further some other type of habit like hoarding.
Even though being addicted to spending money doesn't cause bodily harm the way a drug or alcohol addiction would, it can still have lasting, detrimental effects on your life and finances.
Am I Really “Addicted”?
It's often hard to discern when a shopping problem or penchant for overspending crosses the line into “addiction” or “unhealthy” territory.
For me, I knew I was addicted to shopping years ago, I finally I had a problem I needed help with when I knew I was spending money I didn't have, knew I was stressing myself out about money by maxing out my credit cards, spending what was earmarked for rent and food on non-essentials and still couldn't get myself to act right.
It's been a topic I've talked about often here on the site, but for those struggling to get a handle on their overspending, there is hope and definitely a few exercises and activities to do to help overcome your overspending problem – whether it's a full-blown addiction or a bad habit you'd like to break in order to live a better financial future.
Addicted to Spending Money? Try One of these:
- 5 ways to assess if you have a legitimate shopping problem.
- See how much mindless shopping costs you by tracking your spending in an app. (We love Learnvest for this. Here's why.) Swiping your card is often painless, but when you see in your “shopping” tab $400.. it's definitely a reality check.
- Find a licensed therapist, particularly one who specializes in addiction or money counseling.
- Try one of these six tricks when you feel the urge to shop.
- If you feel up to it – go cold turkey by tackling a no spend challenge.
- Consider an all-cash diet. Whenever I get sloppy with my spending (which, yes, still happens even though I no longer shop like I used to) getting cash out of an ATM always puts me on the right path.
- Sync your checking account with an app like Qapital to sock away little bits of cash and allow yourself to ONLY spend this money. Then do so guilt free! It's important to do this to learn that you can still spend but do so in a planned, thoughtful way.
- Try an all-out money cleanse for your wallet and existing money habits.
- Create a debt payoff plan if you have credit card debt.
- Instead of using extra energy to shop and consume – put your energy into a creative outlet like starting a new blog or new side hustle.
More Ways to Break a Bad Overspending Habit
- Learn how to change your consumer-driven lifestyle by reading Cait Flanders or The Minimalists for inspiration on how to live with less and spend more mindfully. ‘
- Sometimes those who overspend do so because they haven't tried the structure of a budget. Here's how to set up a budget that will actually work FOR you, not against you.
- Challenge yourself to not shop or spend money on whatever is your trigger for 2 weeks. Set a reward in advance of what you'll give yourself when you succeed. It's called learning how to splurge guilt free.
- It's often easier to save money when we make our saving goals personal. WHY do you want to change your addicted to spending money persona? What is it all for? Learn how to set better personal goals here, and grab our worksheets for this here too!
It's tough work to change your behavior when you've been spending unfettered for so long, but it CAN be done.
Any other ways you like to curb the urge to overspend?